It seems like just yesterday, a year ago, that I was holding a new born baby boy in my arms. Yes, my little man turned one year old yesterday and I can't believe how time has flown. I still remember vividly sitting with my wife playing SkipBo as we waited, sometimes patiently, to go the hospital. I still remember our dogs getting closer and closer to my wife as her contractions increased and grew closer together. Then there was the car ride, when one of my favorite moments happened. As we were stopped at a red light behind another car, my wife said, "just go through the red light, I can't sit here anymore." My response was, "honey, I can't drive through or over the car in front of me, so we will just have to wait a few more seconds." Ha. At least we can both look back now and laugh. Almost every detail about the day leading up to my son's birth, the labor, and the birth itself is still burned into my memory. I look at my son now and wonder how the hell did he once fit inside my wife. He has grown and changed so much that when I look at pictures from when he was a newby, I almost don't recognize him. Of course I know its him, but so much has changed in just one year its quite remarkable. Perhaps my favorite change out of everything is the growth of his personality. In just a year he has gone from this lump of breathing flesh to a babbling, essentially walking, one year old who just wants to keep moving, exploring, and growing. While I can't wait to see what this next year will bring, I can also wait as long as necessary to watch him grow. I am glad I took extra time off this past year to spend with my son, watch him grow, and just be there for him. While he probably won't remember most of his first year, I know I will, and I will share every little moment with him as he grows older.
Speaking of walking, he has started taking steps on his own. I think he is following in my footsteps in one respect; that is he defies what everyone says he is going to do. He first started walking with assistance almost 4 months ago now. While it has taken him quite some time to get his balance together and gain the confidence necessary to walk on his own, he is getting there bit by bit. Every time people would see him walking while holding our hands, they said it would by any day now that he would be off and running. Well, 3.5 months of people saying he will be walking any day now has come and gone. Then people said as soon as he took his first steps, he would be running. To be honest, I thought the same thing. I had visions (and still do) of him just running across the living room, through the kitchen, and out the back door into the yard. Well, even after a few times of consciously walking on his own, there has been no running yet to speak of. Rather, he is choosing to take it easy, not rush into the whole walking thing, and enjoy the benefit of holding someone's hands while walking (except not being able to go everywhere he wants because there is an adult guiding him). I do feel bad for my wife in regards to our son's walking. The first time he took about ten steps on his own, my wife was in the bathroom. There was no warning from our son. He was waving a newspaper in his hand while holding on to the couch when all of a sudden he paused, looked at the ground, then at a gate about 5-6 feet away, and thought about his next move. It was almost as if he was building up his courage to take those first steps on his own. After a few seconds, he let go of the couch and with the newspaper still gripped in his hand over his head, he walked (or waddled) over to the gate without falling. So my wife unfortunately missed that one and despite our attempts to recreate it, he wasn't feeling it. The second time occurred with my mother in law and guess where my wife was; that's right, the bathroom. So she has so far missed the first two real walking missions of our son. Soon, however, she will be seeing him running circles around her I am sure.
All in all, this first year has been a good one. Our son hasn't been sick despite runny noses due to teething, and he is as happy a baby as any parent could want. He eats almost every solid food we give him and loves to say "hallo" to people. He has had no shots of any kind and no vaccinations, nothing, and we plan on keeping it that way. I couldn't ask for a healthier baby or a better tempered one (not that I would ask for a trade in if that wasn't the case). To put it simply, he is the light of my world, after my wife, and puts a smile on my face every time I see him smile. Even when he puts his pouty face on and starts to cry either from over exhaustion or hunger, I still can't help but smile just because he is so cute. But then again, what parent wouldn't smile when their child does almost anything. (OK, I wasn't smiling when he took a plastic tray and accidentally slammed it into my eye, but hey, he's one year old). I have a feeling this next year will be crazier than his first, especially with him walking around as I am sure he will be soon, but isn't that what parenting is all about, going a little crazy? Hey, I was halfway there before we even had our son, so I guess I am in pretty good shape. One year down, many more to go and I am sure they will be exciting. For now, however, I can't wait to get our son out of his crib this morning, kiss him on the cheek and hear him say "hallo" to me as he always does. He even says "hallo" when you are leaving. For this next year, I will hold on to my same mantra that I have always had, "Carpe Diem"; "Seize the Day"!